Category Archives: Franciscans

Sean Patrick O’Malley: 25 years a bishop

SPOM Virgin Islands.jpg25 years ago Capuchin Father Sean Patrick O’Malley was ordained a bishop. Currently he’s the cardinal-archbishop of Boston but not before periods of episcopal ministry in the US Virgin Islands, Fall River, Palm Beach.

Read his blog about this anniversary and the brief narrative of his calling. Also, there is the Boston’s Pilot interview
Cardinal O’Malley is an amazing man who’s on fire being a Christian, Capuchin, priest and bishop.
Pray for Cardinal O’Malley especially on this feast of Our Lady of Angels of the Portiuncula. And may the saints–particularly Saints Francis, Clare and Pio, pray for him.
“The stone rejected has become the cornerstone.”

Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula

OL of the Angels of teh Portiuncula.jpgToday is the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, the Virgin under whose mantle Saint Francis of Assisiwas wrapped; Mary’s maternal protection made it possible for blessed Francis to experience an intentse Presence of the Lord and to receive his vocation to rebuild the Church. The Portiuncula is also the place where Francis knew first hand the experience of being sustained by the Angels. Likewise his intimate devotion to the Blessed Mother, under whose protection did he place himself to do the Lord’s work did this place become holy for the members of the Franciscan family and for the Church universal. As a place of pilgrimage, the holy Portiuncula is a poignant reminder of how important the encounter with Christ was for Saint Francis and how much the encounter ought to be pivotal for us today. Without meeting Christ, little makes sense. Saint Bonaventure had this to say about this devotion:

The Portiuncula was an old church dedicated to the Virgin
Mother of God which was abandoned. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ. This is also the place where St Clare took her vows and where Saint Francis died.

Consider the words of an early biographer of Saint Francis of Assisi:

From there he moved to another place, which is called the

“Portiuncula,” where there stood a church of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God built in ancient times.  At that time it was deserted and no one was taking care of it.  When the holy man of God saw it so ruined, he was moved by piety because he had a warm devotion to the Mother of all good and he began to stay there continually. The restoration of that church took place in the third year of his conversion. At this time he wore a sort of hermit’s habit with a leather belt. He carried a staff in his hand and wore shoes. One day the gospel was being read in that church about how the Lord sent out his disciples to preach. The holy man of God, who was attending there, in order to understand better the words of the gospel, humbly begged the priest after celebrating the solemnities of the Mass to explain the gospel to him. The priest explained it all to him thoroughly line by line.  When he heard that Christ’s disciples should not possess gold or silver or money, or carry on
their journey a wallet or a sack, nor bread nor a staff, not to have shoes nor two tunics, but that they should preach the kingdom of God and penance, the holy man, Francis immediately exulted in the spirit of God. “This is what I want,” he said, “this is what I seek, this is what I desire with all my heart.” The holy father, overflowing with joy, hastened to
implement the words of salvation, and did not delay before he devoutly began to put into effect what he heard. (From The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano)

Read about and perhaps seek The Portiuncula Indulgence if you visit any Franciscan Church and observe the conditions for receiving the indulgence.

The Holy Father made reference to this in his Sunday Angelus address:

… today is the feast of the “Pardon of Assisi,” which St. Francis obtained from Pope Honorious III in the year 1216, after
having a vision while he was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula. Jesus appeared to him in his glory, with the Virgin Mary on his right and surrounded by many Angels. They asked him to express a wish and Francis implored a “full and generous pardon” for all those who would visit that church who “repented and confessed their sins”. Having received
papal approval, the Saint did not wait for any written document but hastened to Assisi and when he reached the Portiuncula announced the good news: “Friends, the Lord wants to have us all in Heaven!”. Since then, from noon on 1 August to midnight on the second, it has been possible to obtain, on the usual conditions, a Plenary Indulgence, also for the dead, on visiting a parish church or a Franciscan one.

A note about indulgences, which are often misunderstood.  Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness
for temporal punishment due to sin; that the residual effects of sin are forgiven.

Also, visit The Shrine website (read in 3 languages)

On this feast we pray

August Queen of Heaven, sovereign queen of Angels, you who at the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we beseech you humbly, send your holy legions so that, on your orders and by your power, they will track down demons, fight them everywhere, curb their audacity and plunge them into the hell.

Who can be compared to God? Oh good and tender Mother, you will always be our love and our hope. Oh divine Mother, send the Holy Angels and Archangels to defend me and to keep the cruel enemy far from me. Holy Angels and Archangels defend us, protect us. Amen.

Capuchins reflect on their work in the Amazon

cap friar.jpgThe Capuchins in Italy are taking time to reflect on
the greatest God-given gift they’ve received: work of 100 years among the native Brasilian
peoples. What really struck me was the Provincial’s comment: “And we truly lived it as
a gift: participating in His mission, that is to say, the mission of Jesus

Why is this info newsworthy? Last week the parishes of the Bridgeport Diocese had World Mission Sunday (early, I know) where all the parishes had missionary priests preach on their efforts to bring the Gospel to their respective people. Where I am we had Father Anand, a priest from India. Catholics think and act in an outward direction (or at least they’re supposed to) because of their Baptism in Christ and Saint Matthew saying: “Go make disciples of all nations.” All this got me thinking and remembering that Blessed Pope John XXIII asked religious orders to devote 10% of their membership to the missions. Even the US diocesan priests formed associations to work in mission countries trying to respond to the Holy Father’s request. So I ask myself: In what ways will I be a missionary? Are Catholics missionary today? Do we believe that the mission of Jesus Christ is our great gift? How do we intend to collaborate with Jesus and the Church (& the Capuchins)?

Watch the news clip from H2O News here.

Also worth noting is the statement that Franciscan mysticism (a deeper form of spirituality) engages the person affectively. The spiritual life is not an intellectual exercise!!!!!   I wish we can here more about this topic.

Note, too, the Capuchin commitment to technology for the sharing of the faith!!! This is taking Saint Paul seriously. I look forward to seeing the good work in Assisi.

Jesuits suppressed: the 236th anniv

Clement XIV stamp.jpgToday is the 236th anniversary of the promulgation of Dominus ac Redemptor, the papal bull of Pope Clement XIV (a Conventual Franciscan) suppressing the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In this bull the pope dissolved the Society without condemning it because it is said that he did revere many of its members. Hence, the suppression had nothing to do with enmity (Franciscans vs. Jesuits) as much as it had to do with the significant criticism the Society faced and the likely realization of the threat of Church schism if the pope didn’t do something with the Jesuits. Faced with the pressure of a fragmented Church, Clement did what he had to do. By the time of this unusual papal intervention, the Jesuits were expelled from Brasil, Portugal, France, Spain and Parma.

The Jesuit order was restored in 1814.

An annual event at graduation time of the non-Jesuit students at Rome’s Gregorian University is a wreathe laying ceremony at Pope Clement XIV’s grave at the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles. There newly graduated students offer a prayer asking the pope to intercede before God to have the Jesuits suppressed once again. One wonders about the efficacy of Clement’s ability to ask the Lord for a favor.

Our Lady of the Atonement

Father Paul Wattson, the founder with Mother Lurana White, of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, gave hundreds of sermons, conducted numerous retreats, delivered many radio addresses and wrote extensively in four magazines: The Pulpit of the Cross, The Lamp, The Candle and The Antidote.

The following piece is Father Wattson’s commentary on the feast of Our Lady of the Atonement. This Marian feast was approved by the Holy See in 1946 but it was first observed in July 1901.

The theological datum on atonement and therefore mercy, is near-and-dear to the heart of the Church and indeed to all Christians, so today’s feast is apt. Let us pray for each other!

OL of the Atonement.jpg

I am writing this letter on the day which we are accustomed to observe at Graymoor in special honor of Our Lady of the Atonement. This particular name of Our Blessed Mother is very dear to us and we believe it is dear to Our Lady herself. We hold it as among the most treasured and sacred traditions of our Institute that it was the Blessed Virgin who first taught us to call her by that name and there are cogent reasons why she should give this title a favorite place among the many by which she is invoked.

First among these reasons must be her own devotion to the mystery of the Atonement, for it was by the death of her son on the Cross, which cost him the last drop of his blood and made her preeminently the mother of sorrows, that the wall of division between God and man was broken down and both were made one (Ephesians 2:14), through Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

As the Blessed Virgin is inseparably associated with our divine redeemer in the mystery of his incarnation, so is she closely associated with him in the great act of the atonement. Thus, is she always represented in the Gospel and in the liturgy and thought of the Catholic Church as standing by the cross, when Christ was crucified there.

There is a second reason, hardly less weighty than the first, why the title, Our Lady of the Atonement, should powerfully appeal to the mother of God. It was through the Incarnation she become the mother of Christ, but through the atonement she became the new Eve and the mother of all the regenerate, who being redeemed by the precious blood are predestined to eternal life as the adopted sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. The third time Our Lord spoke upon the cross it was to emphasize this phase of the Atonement, when he said to his mother: “Woman, behold your son,” and to St. John, “Son, behold your mother.” [John 19:26-27] Thus by virtue of the atonement Mary is the mother of all who live through Christ. Can anyone therefore possibly conceive the depth of significance this title “Our Lady of the Atonement” must possess for Our Blessed Mother herself?

But someone will ask, if so highly esteemed, why should it be kept hidden for nineteen hundred years, to be made known to the faithful in the twentieth century? Is it not the custom even of earthly mothers to preserve the choicest
fruits in the summer time and hide them away under lock and key, to bring them forth to their children’s delight in the depth of winter and did not the master of the wedding feast say to the bridegroom at Cana,

Every man at first brings forth good wine and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now. [John 2:10]

“My ways are not your ways,” [Isaiah 55:8] says the Lord of Hosts.

(The Lamp, August 1919, pp.503-4)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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